Limited Activity in Medical Market.

Activity in the Columbia, South Carolina, medical office market was limited during the last six months of 2011. Pending healthcare reform continued to affect the medical office market in 2011, as many healthcare groups remained in a holding pattern until the full impact of pending reform is better understood.   Most of the activity that occurred in the market in 2011 was a result of hospital expansions or the acquisition of private practices.  

Following the last economic downturn, the trend emerged whereby hospital systems sought to acquire private practices in order to expand their geographic footprints.  This trend continued in 2011, but it had very little impact on the medical office market as most practices remained in their current facilities to take advantage of existing patient bases. 

There was substantial development activity underway at year-end 2011, as both Palmetto Health and Providence Hospitals were in the midst of major expansions.  Construction began in late 2011 on Palmetto Health’s 76-bed Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital in Irmo, which is scheduled for completion in 2013.  Construction was also underway on Providence Hospitals’ expansion to their Forest Drive and Northeast campuses.  Final build out will include a new patient tower on Forest Drive in addition to new patient rooms and the expansion of several departments on both campuses.

Activity in the medical office market will remain limited in 2012, as hesitation stemming from pending reform will result in extreme caution related to real estate decisions and long-term commitments.

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